(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

HUMANISTIC EDUCATION                  165

complete text of Quintilian, and then of Cicero's three great
works on Oratory. The times were ripe for the venture, and
Vittorino was admirably fitted for the task. Coming to the
university of Padua at the age of eighteen, he attended the lectures
of Giovanni of Ravenna, a pupil of Petrarch, and became the
famulus of Barzizza. From his association with these two
great men, he acquired the insight into the spirit of Cicero which
ultimately made him one of the finest Latin stylists of his time.
After getting his degree in arts, he added to his distinctions by
mastering mathematics, a subject as yet outside the recognized
course of university study. Having taught grammar and mathe-
matics at Padua for twenty years, he went to the school of Guarino
at Venice, probably as a teacher, and there acquired a knowledge
of Greek. A few years later he opened a school of his own at
Venice, but gave it up after a short time to undertake the education
of the family of Gianfrancesco Gonzago, lord of Mantua. A fine
summer house, which he called The House of Joy (La Gioiosa),
was specially prepared for him and his scholars, and here he
taught for twenty-two years. In addition to the sons and
daughters of his patron, he had under him the boys of other
noble families, and later he added to their number many poor
scholars of promise, until there were some sixty or seventy
pupils all boarding together and receiving instruction from him
and his assistants.

The basis of intellectual education was a careful and extensive
study of the classical writings, both Latin and Greek, which
combined literary excellence with subject-matter unobjectionable
from the ethical point of view, and particular attention was
paid to composition and declamation in Latin. The course was
not limited, however, to the study of literature. It included also
a knowledge of ancient history and philosophy, and of the several
subjects of the quadrivium. The one notable omission was the
absence of any provision for the teaching of the mother tongue.
With this scholarly training was conjoined a strict discipline of
the body by means of games and exercises, a feature of the school
suggested by the practices of courtly life, but elevated in this
case by an enthusiasm for the Greek ideal of physical perfection.
And interfused through all the work was the Christian spirit*
represented by the daily devotions, and made real and living by
he personality of the master. The school, indeed, owed its